Remember March? When people all of a sudden started baking banana bread? It was a strange time where newly housebound humans killed time and entertained each other by photographing themselves (and their kids and pets) along with household items to recreate famous works of art from the Getty’s collection.
The Getty Center in LA challenged people to do the Getty Challenge - and generated upward of 100,000 submissions. A house cat in a bonnet became Édouard Manet’s Jeanne (Spring). A woman in a cape made from curtains became Picasso’s Woman In A Fish Hat (with artistic make-up added as paint strokes). And for a little time, the world (or at least our Instagram feed) shined brighter.
This one might feel a bit gimmicky (and it is), but we think it’s still a good example of a brand truly understanding a hype - and playing into it in an authentic and fun way. To avoid lockdown boredom (again, you can only bake so much), people were puzzling. Oh. So. Many. Puzzles. That’s why Heinz created the slowest puzzle on earth, an impossible-to-solve puzzle based on ketchup, and gave 57 of them away to their fans on social media.
While Ikea stores closed, people were missing more than their furniture fixes: they craved the retailer’s famous meatballs. On Twitter, the company published the recipe on how to make Swedish meatballs at home - in typical Ikea fashion. Might not be the most surprising campaign, but it takes balls to give away your signature recipe.
Finally, we’re sneaking in one of our own. In February 2020, the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent launched 'Van Eyck. An Optical Revolution'. It was a promising initiative that would put the city of Ghent on the art map, but of course, COVID-19 wouldn’t let us have nice things.
As long-time partner of Visit Flanders, we created the Stay at Home Museum, a virtual collection of guided tours through several Flemish Master collections. Each one was streamed on Facebook Live followed by an exclusive live Q&A hosted by art experts. It became viral worldwide and the tally peaked at 2,500,000 visitors from 94 different countries, who all got to share a piece of our cultural heritage. Read the full case here.
We could say that the Stay at Home Museum campaign was quite … the masterpiece. (Sorry.)
'You Can’t Stop Us', the third film in Nike’s campaign of the same name, shares a dynamic split screen series detailing 36 pairings of athletes and relating the kinetic movement of one sport to another. Developed through research of more than 4,000 pieces of footage (yes, you did read that correctly!), the result is … gorgeous. The montage shows that while all athletes are different, they do have a lot in common.The idea is simple, the execution brilliant. Our motion and graphic designers estimated the amount of work that would have probably gotten into the research part alone. Their guess? A minimum of 30 work days. All the more impressive.
Three toy cars, three creative directors and some necessary props – that’s all that was needed for the new commercials by ŠKODA. Shot at home, due to the pandemic, the directors used their own couches, dining tables or families. And one greyhound. Steffen Haars shot on a digital camera, Johan Kramer on an eight-millimetre film and the From Form studio used the stop-motion technique. As the old saying goes, creativity loves limitations. Perhaps nowadays this rings even truer.
While cars are getting more electric, rumbling engines are getting replaced by silent batteries and whirring motors. That’s it for car sounds then? No way, said BMW. (We’re imaging the CEO actually banging his fist on his desk while saying this). The BMW all-electric Concept i4 comes with music by Hans Zimmer. Hans! Zimmer! He’s composing mini scores which BMW calls 'sound worlds' (a bit pretentious, but we’ll allow it) - sounds for when the doors open, as the car starts up, and as the car drives along the road. Right now, they’re still in concept form - but the company intends to roll them out over the next few years on more than two dozen electric vehicles. It will start with the production version of the i4, later in 2021. We’re personally hoping they’ll integrate some Lion King into it.
Agency: MEMAC Ogilvy Dubai
Yes, we know. Ikea. Again. But credit where credit’s due. We’re always big fans of campaigns that spin a negative into a positive. As Ikea’s stores are often located far from city centres, people spend a lot of time getting there (negative). That’s why Ogilvy launched a new initiative ‘Buy With Your Time’ - letting customers pay with the time they’ve spent getting to Ikea (positive). Genius.
Agency: Verve agency
The main advice we got when Covid first disrupted our lives? Yes, also social distancing. But we’re talking about this one: Wash your hands. For at least 20 seconds. Wash it thoroughly. The more, the merrier. We got the message, sure, but 20 seconds is just… so long. In an attempt to make it easier for all of us, Verve agency created 20 Second Soaps. The first soap that acts as a timer to help people watch their hands properly. Brilliantly simple.
Client: Epic games
We love a good brand fight. Especially when it’s between two of the biggest players in the tech world. The problem? Apple has blocked Fortnite from its App Store. Why? They want the game to remove the ‘Epic direct payment feature’. Meaning? They want 30% of all in-app purchases. And, well, Fortnite’s not having it.
Brilliantly, they recreated Apple’s 1984 spot - taking famous imagery from the ad and giving it a cartoony 3D Fortnite twist and awesome - awesome! - voice-over. “Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the platform unification directives,” says the evil apple tiran in a menacing voice. “For years, they have given us their songs, their labor, their dreams. In exchange, we have taken our tribute, our profits, our control. This power is ours and ours alone. We shall prevail.” This while throwing a Fortnite pickaxe at the screen. Anyone who knows the ad, will surely see the mocking resemblance. But then again, most 6 year old Fortnite players probably won’t.
The most interesting thing here is that this was clearly planned. Implicating that Fortnite very well knew what they got themselves into. Creating this video must have taken ages, and they responded within 6 hours. It might seem like an easy retaliation, but we nominate it mostly for its digital craftiness. Beautifully designed, and wonderfully executed. Evermore, it’s just a plain smart strategy - portraying Apple as a powerful bully and themselves as “the underdog”. Tactical move by Fortnite. Apple, you’re up.
Well, that’s it, folks. It’s been a difficult year so far for creativity, and for everything else. And while Cannes Lions believes this year doesn’t call for a celebration, we believe we cannes - and should - celebrate if we still feel like it. Congratulations to all our winners, even more impressive in times of global pandemics. And congratulations to you, for reading this all the way through.
Curious to see more creative work? Check out our own campaigns right away.
Janne Van Robays